Braves make it five in a row

ATLANTA - Adam LaRoche gave the Braves the lead with a seventh-inning homer, his second of the game, and Atlanta continued its second-half surge by beating the Washington Nationals 6-2 on Wednesday night.

LaRoche snapped a 2-2 tie with his seventh-inning homer off Jorge Sosa (1-1). He had a second-inning homer off Craig Stammen and drove in a third run with a bases-loaded walk in Atlanta's three-run eighth.

Garret Anderson and Martin Prado also hit homers for the Braves, who have won five straight. Their 17-9 record since the All-Star break is the best in the National League.

Derek Lowe (12-7) gave up only two runs on seven hits and four walks in seven innings. He has won his last five decisions.

The Braves (60-54) are six games over .500 for the first time since finishing 84-78 two years ago. The Nationals, who had an eight-game winning streak end with an 8-1 loss to Atlanta on Tuesday night, were swept in the two-game series.

Prado increased the lead to 4-2 with his eighth-inning homer off Sean Burnett.

Burnett gave up a single to Chipper Jones and a double to Brian McCann before loading the bases with an intentional walk to Yunel Escobar. Burnett walked LaRoche to force in a run and, with two outs, Jason Bergmann walked pinch-hitter Greg Norton to force in another run.

Reliever Peter Moylan struck out Elijah Dukes with two runners on to end the eighth.

Stammen, who had a 15.32 ERA in his last three starts, gave the Nationals six strong innings on the day the team announced another rookie, Jordan Zimmermann, will have reconstructive elbow surgery next Wednesday.

Stammen gave up only four hits and two runs, on homers by Anderson and LaRoche in the second.